New HHS highlights year in HartsellePublished 11:45am Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The dream of a new school for Hartselle high school’s administrators, teachers, support personnel and students became a reality April 1, 2013, when the doors of the nearly $45 million facility opened for classes.
The move to the new school was made over the spring break with many students and other volunteers teaming up with teachers to set up their new classrooms.
Simultaneously, upgrades to Bethel Road were completed for the most part and the school opening took place without traffic issues being a problem.
The state of the art school features a 1,600-seat competition gymnasium, 1,200-seat auditorium, a 100-seat lecture hall, numerous computer and science labs along with an indoor athletic fieldhouse and on-campus facilities for track and field and tennis.
Many of the athletic facilities were not completed until the start of the 2013-2014 school year in August.
Once the facility opened, however, the Hartselle Board of Education approved a $126,763 change order at the new Hartselle High School at the request of Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton and the state fire marshal’s office.
It added a gravel road on the backside of the building to allow emergency vehicles to have complete access to the building. It also widened the loop in front of the school to a 20-foot-wide minimum.
Wilson appointed superintendent
Dr. Vic Wilson, principal of Mountain Brook High School, was appointed superintendent of Hartselle City Schools in June. He was unanimously approved by the school board to replace Dr. Mike Reed who announced his retirement in February. He was one of three candidates interviewed by the board at the conclusion of a widespread search. Wilson holds a doctorate in education from Samford University and was previously employed as assistant principal at Mountain Brook, principal at Homewood High School and assistant principal at Homewood Middle School. He was honored by the Alabama Music Association in 2012-2013 and Principal of the Year and the University of Montevallo honored him as Administrator of the Year in 2009-2010.
Thompson Road widening reactivated
The widening of Thompson Road from a two-lane to a five-lane corridor linking Highway 31 and I-65 was reactivated in March, entering a. design update and right-of-way land acquisition phase. The design phase was completed in the early 2000s but was shelved in favor of shifting grant funding to the construction of the north railroad overpass. The corridor is designed to improve access to the new Morgan Center Business Park and the Hartselle-Morgan County Industrial Park. It includes the replacement of the CSX railroad overpass near Highway 31. The scope of work yet to be done consists of plan updating, land acquisition, utility line relocation and construction. The project calls for ALDOT to provide 80 percent funding and Hartselle putting up a 20 percent match.
Reed announces retirement
Dr. Mike Reed retired from his position as superintendent of Hartselle City Schools June 30, 2013. He announced his plans to step down at a board meeting in February, after the New Hartselle High School opened it doors to students. He said he enjoyed his eight-year tenure as superintendent of the city’s school and looked forward to spending more items with his family after retirement.
HHS receives Blue Ribbon distinction
Hartselle High School was designated as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in October after meeting standards in all but eight of the 135 categories judged by a Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Committee. Evaluations of teachers and staff and interviews and meetings with school administrators and school board members were conducted two weeks before the announcement. The city’s three elementary schools previously qualified for the designation
Firefighter dies in wreck en route to fire
Volunteer firefighter Jantzen Murrell, 28, of Falkville died in a wreck while responding to a fire call on Oct. 17. Murrell was driving a fire engine for Oden Ridge Volunteer Fire Department when it veered out of control and struck a utility pole on Wilson Mountain Road. He was a decorated U.S. Army veteran, having served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He received a medical discharge after receiving wounds in combat and was pursuing a career as an emergency medical technician at Wallace State Community. He left a wife and four children.
BOE breaks ground on new Priceville School
The Morgan County Board of Education conducted a ground breaking for a new Priceville High School Nov. 12. Among those participating were kindergarten through 12th grade students representing classes at Priceville Elementary, middle and high schools. The estimated $24.7 million project us expected to go out for bids in February 2014. The architect is GBW Architects of Decatur and the construction manager is Volkert Inc.
McClanahan Hardware closes after 77 years
McClanahan Hardware ended a 77-year relationship with the Hartselle business community Aug. 28 when it closed its doors due to declining business activity. Owner Lynn Thrasher said he and his wife Valerie gave the business their best shot to keep it open after purchasing it from the McClanahan family four years earlier. “After closely monitoring sales activity for the first six months of the year, we felt we had no other choice,” he said. The store stocked many hard-to-find items such as stovepipe, snow sleds, bike tires, cast iron cooking utensils and hundreds of screws, nuts, bolts and fasteners.
Lights go up on new soccer fields
Hartselle new soccer complex in Sparkman Park was upgraded with lights installed on all seven playing fields in September. The fields were used without lights for two years because the city didn’t have the money to do the work. A legislative act co-sponsored by State Senator Arthur Orr and State Representative Ed Henry made it possible for the city to borrow the money needed and pay it back with future proceeds from TVA payments in lieu of taxes. The project cost $443,000
Priceville adopts alcohol ordinance
The Priceville Council approved an ordinance regulating the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages within the town limits on Feb. 11. The move was made in keeping with the wishes of the town’s voters as expressed in a liquor referendum that was conducted as a part of the November 2012 General Election. The town clerk was authorized to begin accepting applications for liquor licenses when the ordinance became effective Feb. 19.